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March 14, 2003     Jewish News
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March 14, 2003

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18 Southeastern Virginia Jewish News Edmarc and JFS workshop helps local teens cope with By Jennie Norfleet JFS Marketing Associate Arch Sports in Chesapeake. This event was the third in a series of community grief programs facil- itated by this unique partnership on an annual basis. Last year, the workshop focused on adults experiencing grief through the eyes of 10 panelist, ages six through 14. "Friends Helping Friends Grieve" Grieving teens, ages 13 to 17, were encouraged to bring a friend to support them during this day long event. The intent was to encourage the participants to build a support network outside of their immediate families. Debra Mayer, JFS Director of Clinical Services explains, "teens are asserting their independence and often going outside their fam- ily for social and emotional sup- port. So it is only normal to teach them that peers can be a valuable resource when a death has touched their life." The workshop incorporated the theme of team building in a unique way. Amy Cadge, a team building expert from Williams- burg, designed several activities on and off the ice geared to build On Feb. 9, area teens on ice skates, trusted their safety to a close friend as they were led blindfolded around a local skat- ing rink. Meandering a path both on and off the ice, these young people were participating in a "trust walk," part of a workshop designed for teens grieving the loss of someone close to them. Entitled "Friends Helping Friends Grieve," the event was sponsored by LifeNet, the JFS Center for Loss Transition and Healing and Edmarc Hospice for Children, and was held at Ice chc, ng+ c, ncl help f " wPonqs o socielq. 00Lout posi[iva Piqht t1+ -[l++obcth J. Clok, DhD, ACSW, MDI-t [x+cutiv+ Di,,+cto of NASW J+wi+h Fomilq S+,00vic+ of 00+l+woi+00 00+00+t+fullq salute+ ils woncl+.4ul sla(( of +oc+ol woden+ c, ncl lh+nl00s each o( qou (o,+ a joe w+ll +Io.+! 1-o Imrn +Imul lh,+ s+,,,,+o+, Jl% Soc+c,l ,,k+s p,v+l+ Io lh+ communilq, visil c+u+ weLsite at: www.jhlmmphmetacls.c+am oP toll 4S9-3111 ov 459-4CA0 (++P m,+P in[oemmlion. ...... +, +..+ ,++*+' a sense of community and coop- eration among the teens, most of whom were meeting each other for the first time. The goal of the "trust walk," Cadge explains, "shows that it may be frightening to be depen- dent on someone else, but it demonstrates that ultimately your friend has your best interest at heart." Laura Kanter, L.C.S.W. a JFS grief counselor comments, "Exer- cises such as the "trust walk" help teens see their friend as a stable force in their life. Often teens don't delve into conversations about trust and love with their friends. These exercises help to express some of those unspoken emotions, emotions that are help- ful when dealing with the death of a friend or family member." The day also included smaller breakout sessions designed to help each teenager focus on his/her own individual loss. An emotional memorial service con- cluded the day, affording each teen the opportunity to speak the name of the person they were there to remember as they glided around a rink lit only by flash- lights. This while the song, "In the Arms of Angels," by Sarah McLachlan was played on the fink's sound system. Each partic.- ipant went home with their arms loaded with prizes, generously donated by local merchants. The positive impact of this experience was summed up best by one teenager, overheard saying to his friend, "I'm definitely coming back next year!" Those who would like to make a donation to help support pro- grams such as this one, or to get more information about bereave- ment programming at Jewish Family Service, may call Debra Mayer at 459-4640. [+:: .... : + .", s . . .... L .; . - March A pair o/friends ice during the blindfolded trust  blindfolded trust walk. !- A young participant at cenwr, prepares tO fall d" bapds into .............................................................................. !.i .: .... "* " her pee.s in:aru)ther exercise designed to build trust.